Friday the St. Bonaventure Women's Basketball team will play the NCAA opener against Oklahoma State in Corvallis, Oregon. But after the bus left on Wednesday morning, many stood scratching their heads. Where exactly is Corvallis?
First, its population is about 3 ½ times the size of Olean. With a population of about 55,000, Corvallis nearly quadruples the size of Olean, which is home to about 15,000 people.
Second, outdoor activities are a must. The name “Corvallis” actually means “Heart of the Valley.” The area offers plenty of hiking trails and kayak and canoeing opportunities along the Marys River, a 40-mile tributary of the Willamette River. Like Olean, the city has been named a Tree City USA. Corvallis boasts at least 47 public parks in and around the city, including the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge and the Siuslaw National Forest.
Third, while they may not be household names, Corvallis can claim a few noteworthy people. Dan Williams, a former Major League Baseball (MLB) player and current assistant MLB coach with the Cleveland Indians, hails from Corvallis. 1968 Olympic gold medalist Dick Fosbury also is from Corvallis. Fosbury invented the back-first method of high jumping that is commonly used in track and field today. Thirdly, Brad Bird comes from Corvallis. The animator, writer and director has worked on productions like The Incredibles, The Iron Giant and Ratatouille.
Fourth, students are pretty involved. The Corvallis Gazette-Times has five lead stories featured on its website today. Two of those are about students giving back to the global community. One is about international students at Oregon State University gathering supplies to send to Syrian refuges. The other is about students at Corvallis High School painting portraits of Bolivian orphans through Memory Project, a group that visits orphanages around the world and takes photos of the children there.
Fifth, religion is sparse. Corvallis is in the middle of the “Unchurched Belt” and makes up the majority of Benton County, which is the least religious county per capita in the United States. A 2003 study showed that only one in four people were affiliated with one of the 149 religious groups the study included. However, the study indicated that Benton County may be home to people who identify as belonging to another religion that wasn’t given as an option—including the Church of Ed Wood.
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